Se Vende: The House in Oliva

Just because we found our dream house doesn’t mean we won’t sell it. Our pattern has been to find the house of our dreams, return it to its former glory, and then move on. There was a farmhouse in Sultan. A stunning craftsman in historic Snohomish. A metal garage to transform on Herron Island. We have stayed in our Seattle house longest. That feat required building a backyard cottage. Family members aren’t surprised when we move, or that our new dream requires lots of trips to home supply stores. It’s what we do.

The beauty of our house in Oliva, Spain was not having walls to remove in my future. The open kitchen fantasy would require knocking down a stone wall that is two and a half feet thick. The thin brick wall upstairs gave Donna her own dressing room. It’s not that moving walls wasn’t contemplated. I just didn’t have to be as emphatic when discouraging notions about wall removal.

The house in Oliva is definitely a dream house. It matches a recurring theme in Donna’s dream journal. Valencian beamed ceilings, rustic Spanish charm, and a view of the Mediterranean ticked all the right boxes. A view of the castle ruins from the terrace was an extra. That the walk up to the castle figures in local festivities was a surprise. Having traditional processions pass your house goes beyond dreams.

We didn’t visit the beach before making an offer on our house. The beach is stunning, and it’s stunning all year round. We visited a lot of Spanish beaches before landing in Oliva. Oliva’s beach is the best of them. It’s beautiful. It’s sandy. The waves are perfect for body surfing. There aren’t any high rises, or tourist hordes. The cafes are low key and run by locals. When our favorite pastry chef, Veronica, and her husband opened Juanmi we were thrilled. The beach in Oliva is a family affair. It was a perfect escape from getting our dream home to match our dreams.

Putting traditional tiles in the living room and dining room was the first order. Refacing and painting the house’s exterior was up next. Oscar and his crew did it right. Getting rid of leaky lead pipes and replacing them with copper wasn’t a choice. The result was healthy water and an opportunity to add copper touches wherever we saw fit. A new washing machine and hot water heater were added. Hot baths and a clothes washing cycle that doesn’t take hours were the rewards. Our recurring joke is that we get our house the way we want it, and then we move.

The house is a house. The people we met and became friends with are the real treasures. Open and friendly locals, expats from around the globe, helpful neighbors, and an always interesting mix of people make Oliva a fascinating and lively place to live.

All this and you might ask, “Then why are you selling your house there?” Reading the rest of this blog might suggest some answers. I go back to a quote from the poet Antonia. “In the beginning was the word, and the word was ‘Yes!’ What else could it have possibly been?” Life isn’t meant to be a series of unexplored possibilities. There’s always a new dream waiting around the bend. So we try leave things better than we found them, and then go around the next bend. “They were always a little around the bend.” will probably be carved into our tombstones.

Love you all!

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